Skip to main content

tv   Washington Journal  CSPAN  September 7, 2013 7:00am-10:01am EDT

7:00 am
this week and talk with the group's goals. then a look at the g-20 in russia with the economics reporter of the "wall street journal." "washington journal" is next. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp.2013] >> the following days will be tv appearances which twoling -- follows the address on tuesday. when it comes to a vote in the house, of the 296 houptive members who voted to give george w. bush the authority to invade iraq in october of 2002, at least 75 of those remain in the house. this is "the washington journal" for september 7, 2013.
7:01 am
our next 45 minutes, we want to hear from active and retired military only. here's the question, we want to let you give us your perspective on if you support a military strike in syria. perhaps you do, perhaps you don't. call us and tell us why. again, for our first 45 minutes if we could hear from active and retired military and here's how we divided the lines this morning, for democrats, 202-585-3880. or republicans 202-585-3881. or independents, 202-585-3882. again, this morning, from active and retired military only, if you support a military strike in syria. reach out to us giving us your military designation on social media as well.
7:02 am
host: "the washington post" talking about the president coming out of the g-20 and as he heads home and looking to build more support for syria, talks about the military options and military aspects, "the post" writing this morning a new military operation would run counter to the overall direction of the administration which has focused on ending two long wars in iraq and afghanistan. as one senior administrative official said about afghanistan this year, in the background, everything, we will do this term as ending the war however you want to define it. his own military venture in libya two years ago which ended with muammar gaddafi's death was celebrated as a model for how the united states could operate an operation and participate in the decisive first stage and turn over the command to allies. president obama did not seek approval for the operation which he argued was necessary to protect the people from a massacre. however, he said arab league
7:03 am
approval neither of which he has been able to accomplish this time. his appeal will be to congress. military people is what we want to hear from this morning. for those of you active and retired, if you support a military strike in syria. we've divided the lines politically. . the website run by the atlantic magazine has a piece posted by an associate editor. war by any other name is the plan. stephanie gaskel writing if this isn't war, what is it? it will be a limited operation said chief dempsey. welcome to a new area of war fair, one borne out of deadly
7:04 am
wars in iraq and afghanistan. the mission is to debraid or proliferate chemical weapons and send a message to bashar al-assad, it's not war but, quote, a limited mission. she writes this morning, the preferred standing operation procedure now is to keep world order through limited engagements using naval and air assets, cyberand drill technology, small and elite counterterrorism units and boots on the ground to maintain security interests across the globe. our first 45 minutes dedicated to those in the audience on retired or active military on a military strike in syria. first call up is bobby from schwartz creek, michigan. retired military. go ahead, sir. >> good morning, pedro, how are you doing this morning? host: i'm well, thank you. caller: i oppose going to war in syria. i'm a military veteran and think it's the wrong thing to do at the wrong time.
7:05 am
that's about my whole statement, thank you. host: what about the idea of limited strikes as we've been hearing the last couple weeks. caller: i don't believe in limited strikes, thank you, pedro. host: why not? caller: there's no such thing as a limited strike, because of retaliation. if you're any kind of chess player, you know there's going to be a second move and then there's got to be a third move. and i feel it's a bad situation. host: naomi joining us next from chattanooga, tennessee, republican line, also on our retired line. good morning. >> good morning. host: you're on. caller: we have no business going in there. who do we think we are? we can't take care of our own problems. why should we take care of theirs? this is not affecting us. this is their problem. we have enough problems for our own. and it is like the first step
7:06 am
into another war. host: what are the things we want to get from those of you in the audience, i guess the military approach that president obama plans to take on this and want your thoughts on that as well, naomi, if you're still here. caller: i'm here. host: go ahead. caller: i don't know what you want me to say? host: what do you think of the military approach the president wants to take in terms of strikes? caller: it's wrong, absolutely wrong. host: why so? caller: what business do we have to go in and tell them and who is going to take over if the present leadership leaves? i mean, there's no end to the problem. we are just creating more problems for everybody. host: the financial times this morning in their comment and analysis section, the west needs a replacement for the warrior spirit. this is professor of history at columbia university talking of the military saying the armed forces numbers are plummeting
7:07 am
at .45% and are lower than they've been for a half century or more. the ratio support staff in troops is rising as armies turn high-tech and capital expense has soared, at the same time the chances of being wounded in battle have fallen dramatically. in vietnam or korea, the casualty totals were in the thousands and fewer than 1,000 first reported and the iraq war. accident kills far more service personnel by enemies. killing by drone seems the ultimate case. where is the warrior spirit in wielding a joystick. on the independent line, retired, hello. caller: how are you today, pedro? host: fine, thank you. caller: i also oppose the proposed military action. i think as the previous callers have said, we lack both an
7:08 am
effective military strategy and we lack an understanding and appreciation for the fact that there is no end game. the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff said just on september 3, i have no idea what we are seeking. well, if just four days ago that's what our joint chiefs of staff is saying, i think that says enormous volumes about the leadership right now. host: well, as far as military strategy is concerned, i know that you probably heard the president and others say no boots on the ground and keeping it limited to air strikes from missiles. is that when you said before it was a lack of a military strategy, is that what you were kind of referring to? caller: all right. well, let's take if the objective is to eliminate chemical weapons, i've not heard articulated a military strategy that will go in and find and then secure and then
7:09 am
extract those chemical weapons. are we with a missile strike going to blow up a warehouse? and explain to me how that then eliminates chemical weapons? is the warehouse where they're actually being manufactured? or oh, no, we have 17 places that we plan to hit, and it includes both the manufacturing and the storage. then what is the class value damage from each of those strikes? and oh, are all of the weapons, the chemical weapons being made in syria? how did they get supplied in the first place? see, these are all of the things they're not even talking about. host: that's norma from cincinnati, ohio. a "washington post" story that came out august 29 quoted martin dempsey, chairman of the joints chief of staff, warning the risks and pitfalls in syria, saying, quote, as we weigh our options, we should be
7:10 am
able to conclude with some confidence that use of force will move us towards the intended outcome. dempsey wrote last month in a senate armed services committee. once we take action, we should be prepared for what comes next. deeper involvement is hard to avoid. dempsey has not spoken publicly about the administration's planned strike on syria and it is not clear what the extent of his position shifted after last week's alleged chemical attack and said in a interview with abc news late august, the lessons of iraq weigh heavily in his calculations regarding syria and spoke at length in appearances before committee hearings you can see on our website at c-span.org, military and active retired military is what we're planning on hearing from this morning. taking a look at your take on the military strike in syria and whether you support it or not. again, the lines are divided by political party. it's democrats 202-585-3880.
7:11 am
republicans, 202-585-3881. independents, 202-585-3882. from the democrats line, retired, hello. from louisville, kentucky. hello. caller: i am in support of a strike. because i believe what we're talking about here is the use of weapons of mass destruction. they have been used and if we don't draw a red line here and say that that is not going to be tolerated, then it's going to be used in the future perhaps, even on troops, our own troops, when we have to go in somewhere. so until the united nations becomes strong enough they can go in and take out dictators and send them to the hague to be tried for war crimes, until that time, we are the only game in town and we should have
7:12 am
nations behind us, a coalition, we should have that. but until that time, it looks like we're the only ones going to stand up for morality. so i think a lot of these people that are saying no are just isolationists and we're all war weary, but this has to be met. host: should the president go ahead even if he doesn't get support from congress? caller: yes. host: what do you think about the strategy, the military strategy, as you've heard it laid out so far? caller: i think we've only heard the tip of the iceberg on the military strategy. i don't think that they have the entire program laid out. they're not going to tell us everything they're going to be able to do. so i'm comfortable with it from where i'm coming from. >> host: for your support, was it automatic when the president first proposed this or
7:13 am
something you came along gradually to believe in and accept? caller: when i heard that they had utilized weapons of mass destruction, whether it was their own people or they used it acrossed border, say, into turkey or something of that nature, when you use weapons of mass destruction, that has to be met and somebody in the world has to stand up and say no. host: that's a retired military man from louisville, kentucky. we hear from ron, active military, on our republican line from woodbridge, virginia. hello. caller: how are you doing, pedro. how are you? host: i'm well, thanks. caller: i want to hit it from two sides, i'm a republican, i'm african-american, i'm active military, i do the not support president obama, i did not vote for president obama but from a policy perspective, he's gotten this one right. i think a strike would be, from a fallout situation it would be
7:14 am
largely inconsequential. i think this is focused on punishing assad and that is good. i think some of the politics really concern me. i remember when libya happened, the republicans got upset for the republicans not going to them and this summed up hypocrisy and something even us republicans have a hard time dealing with. now he has come to the congress and asked for their approval and asked for their resolution of support or not their support, it seems like well, they're kind of hassled and inconvenienced to deal with it. to me, the people's representatives, they had the position in the past, they need to stick that position now. the answer is no, then the answer needs to be no, not just well, they said no and i'm going to do it anyway. if we told the president no, we need to make no, no. that is the frustrating part and confusing situation. i'll leave it for your comment. host: i'll ask you, what do you think of the term "mission creep" and does it apply in
7:15 am
this situation? caller: i don't. libya on fire, egypt on fire, yes, turkey, which isn't talked about much, getting more destabilizeded, jordan, syria in the grand scheme it would be another drop in the very chaotic middle eastern bucket. in that region, iraq is probably one of the most stable states so no, i don't think it would be a problem for mission creep. host: if you're active military, perhaps retired military, we give you a chance to comment on potential military strike in syria for our next half-hour. again, the lines are divided by political party so choose the best one that represents you and then you can give us a call and give us your thought. lake placid, florida, up next, independent line. richard, retired military. hello. caller: yes, good morning, pedro. host: good morning. caller: thank you, "washington journal" for taking my call. absolutely not should we get involved in this. first of all, we have two
7:16 am
enemies fighting each other. we don't want to stick our head in between these punches. to get we don't need involved into a situation where we could end up in a regional war possibly with russia, possibly with iran. and what scares me most is having president obama as commander in chief in a wartime situation. however, if they wanted to use, and the right time to use benghazi.orce was however, at that time we had ambassador, americans involved under attack and they gave the stay down order which has not been explained to this day. who gave that order? why? we had forces ready to go. we had delta forces. we had seals.
7:17 am
we had air force in aviano, italy. we could have stopped that and saved those people but they elected not to. we understand that possibly. we lost a lot of ground to air missiles, most likely they went to the rebels and could end up anywhere used against the united states forces, used against other countries. terrible situation. host: when it comes to syria, what do you think of the humanitarian case the administration is making on this? caller: it amazes me, 1,400 people killed by gas. gas is a terrible thing. i've trained chemical warfare a lot. however, 100,000 is killed by conventional by bombs and bullets. how many children were killed in that 100,000 we're talking about prior to the gas? we do not know who used the gas. bring the evidence. ow us -- show the people
7:18 am
directly. lay it out for the united nations and the people and the world their evidence of who used the chemical gas. then we can make a decision. going on this assumption, what it comes down to is i do not trust this administration. host: that's richard from -- for those retired military on our democrats line, allen grayson, democrat from florida, looks at intelligence that's been gathered on syria. headline on syria, vote, trust but verify. he said the documentary record regarding an attack on syria consists of two papers, a four-page unclassified summary and a 12-page classified vietnam. the first enumerates only the evidence in favor of an attack. i'm not allowed to tell you what's in that classified summary but you can draw your own conclusions and he talks more about evidence, he says, even gaining access to
7:19 am
classified summaries, involves a series of unreasonably high hurdles. we have to descend into the bowels of the capitol's visitor's center to a room four levels underground for the instructions of the house intelligence committee. note taking is not allowed. once we leave, we're not permitted to discuss the classified summary with the public, the media or other members, nor are we allowed to do anything to verify the validity of the information that's been provided and this is just the classified summary. it's my understanding the house intelligence committee made a formal request for the underlying report several days ago and haven't heard anence answer yet and frankly don't expect this one. compare the transparency policy with the benghazi attack, secretary clinton to her credit made every single relevant report, i know this. she had nothing to hide. john kerry said the administration is not trying to manipulate the intelligence
7:20 am
reports the way the bush administration did to rationalize the invasion of iraq but by refusing to disclose the underlying data to members of congress, the administration is making it impossible for anyone to judge independently whether the statement is correct, perhaps the edict of an earlier administration applies, trust but verify. talking about intelligence. expect a house vote could be a week or two weeks. "the wall street journal" has a chart that compares the votes in the house that took place for iraq compared to the modern day. they say that of the 296 house of representatives members who gave the vote to former president george w. bush, authority to invade iraq in october 22, at the time it was 216 republicans and 80 democrats. only 75 of those remain in the house today. 55 republicans, 20 democrats. canaan, connecticut, talking to
7:21 am
active and retired military this morning. democrats line. hello. caller: good morning, thank for you taking my call. i'm retired military and i absolutely oppose becoming more involved with syria. it's an irrational regime and unless we have weapons that are rational missiles, i see no good end to this. the only way this can really find a satisfactory end is to somehow make a coalition with russia that can go in and take out the weapons of mass destruction and destroy them without firing missiles or killing more people. host: you said russia, russia won't support us and said they'd support syria. caller: this will lead to a wider war and diplomatically is the only way to walk this gas
7:22 am
canister and missiles out of syria and destroy them. to think we can just fire a few missiles or kill some people, this will make this irrational regime rational? i just don't see any -- the policy that makes this any better. i think it just gets worse and the only thing that can happen is it spreads. although i'm a democrat, i was absolutely aposed president obama on this issue. host: we hear from a republican, also retired military, from california. this is robert. hello. caller: hello, pedro. how are you doing this morning? host: fine, thank you. go ahead. caller: i'm retired army. i am totally for president ama doing regardless a limited strike or downright abolishing them, he has surrounded himself and he's got
7:23 am
pretty much credible intelligence around him. he got it right with osama bin laden and i'm pretty sure he's going to get it right here. i'm a republican but i really feel that this is the right thing to do because if there's any kind of weapon of mass -- uction, whether it's with any country, united states should be in the position to go alone and even if our congress doesn't decide for us, we hould still have a leader that can decide that he's still going to do what's in the best interest of the united states. that's how i feel.
7:24 am
host: there are a couple this morning saying things could become more complicated because of action in syria. caller: oh, well, you know what, that even goes back in the history of world war ii. world war ii, you know, you're going to have other countries jumping in. well, you know, then who's to that wasn't se for it, maybe great britain will say hey, well, why don't we just join in the fight? why won't japan join in the fight, why won't israel join in the fight? russia is not the only one. china is not the only one. iraq is not the only one. yeah, you know, they have their concerns with the united states. but our allies have just as much in this.
7:25 am
maybe they're not as -- they don't have their boots on. but the united states needs to, at least with our commander in chief, you have boots on. i'm proud to say he's my commander in chief. host: over the next few days, you'll see a snapshot of what's going on in the house and senate when it comes to possible votes on military strikes and syria and provided to us by "the hill" newspaper who has been taking a tally and kind of creating information to show to us you should know this doesn't represent every member of the house but information they gain on those they can rely on. as it stands today when it comes to a house vote on military strikes in syria, this is their projection, that in the yes or leaning yes votes as of right now, 10 republicans and 21 democrats in that camp with a total of 31. for those no or leaning no, 104 republicans and 31 democrats, leading to 135 and those undecided, 21 republicans and 71 democrats, with a total of
7:26 am
92. that's a snapshot today. the house vote would need 217 to pass. turning to the senate and looking at what might happen there. for those in the yes, leaning yes category, eight republicans and 16 democrats. for the no, leaning no, 14 republicans, four democrats. then undecided, 13 republicans, two democrats, and two others. now, this information won't provide you with the exact people who are in those categories. if you want, though, you can find that information when you go to "the hill" newspaper, thehill.com where they're keeping a tally and who has been weighing in whether they'll vote yes or no or undecided. again, we'll get updates on those continually as we lead up to a potential house vote on syria. paul, columbia, south carolina. independent line. retired military. hello. caller: good morning. i'm strictly against going into syria.
7:27 am
and the man from california says the president has his boots on, the only way i could possibly go in and have our military go into sir -- syria is it lindsey graham, john mccain and president obama actually put their boots on the ground over there fighting for what they claim they believe in. this battle over there is not against the self-interests of the united states, it's against their own people and people have been. fighting over there for years for no reason at all, in my mind, only sectarian -- for religious reasons. and i'm strictly against it. host: karl up next from kansas city, missouri. democrats line, retired military. caller: hello.
7:28 am
was in the 82nd airborne in 1962 in the cuban missile crisis. and the reason khrushchev took his missiles out is because he knew we meant business. and another thing, those nerve gas they've got there, president reagan gave that stuff to the iraqis and they shipped it out to syria when we attacked iraq. i was a chemical biological specialist in my outfit. they could give those resistant sarets with an ne anecdote to the nerve gas and would be cheaper than going in. my last thought on that is we really have to go in there and whack them one time just to let them know they can't do that and every time they do it whack them again and they're not going to hit israel because israel has a couple hundred atom bombs and they're up against the wall and israel has already attacked them three or four times. they haven't responded.
7:29 am
as for iran, we're going to have to face iran anyway because they're not going to stop on the nukes so we need to slap them. thank you. host: byron from denim springs, i think it's maryland, democrats line, retired military. caller: louisiana. host: hello. caller: i'm completely opposed to going into syria. it's a setup deal from the very beginning and there's no good that can come from us going in there. thank you. gallup poll takes a look at questions concerning public support. their latest shows questions about syria asked over september 3 and four. those in favor of it, 36%, those opposed to it 51% with 13% showing no opinion. it provides some comparison to other conflicts in iraq from february of two thousand three.
7:30 am
at that time there was a 59% in favor of with a 37% opposed and four percent no opinion. afghanistan, 82% in favor of, 14% opposed. it goes to persian gulf in kosovo as well. that is the latest information from gallup on public opinion. we are asking military, especially those who are formally military, what are your thoughts on the possible limited strike on syria. here is mike from des moines, iowa on the independent line. i want to say that i am totally against this. we have been using drones. they have already estimated that has killed over 200 children. there is the sympathy for that? i just want to say i am totally
7:31 am
against it. i was in the army third i was in vietnam. i'm telling you, this is a no- win situation. thank you. are you against it because of the use of force or the use of military or why specifically? the use of military in iran will build up. you're going to open a hornets nest heard you don't know who you are supporting. they have no idea. moderate margin in syria. what is that? think about it for a minute heard you have guys executing other guys. please. it is a no-win situation going in there. john is up next from ohio. independent line, retired.
7:32 am
how i feel about it. i am a retired combat veteran from vietnam. first of all i would like to ask if next guest roberts that is or is not an illegal act of war? two, let's face it. we have no treaties with these people so we don't have to back up a treaty with a syrian -- with the syrians. that would make it legal to attack. after 9/11, as cruel as it sounds, i've seen what it is to shoot another human being. that is war. that is the ugly side of war. that is combat.
7:33 am
arer 9/11, i guess if they going to kill each other, let them kill each other. that is just one less problem we will have to deal with. cruel andis unchristian, but that is the way i feel about it. they have attacked us. fine, we go after them like a tiger. if they didn't attack us, and the iranians are, they don't attack us, we leave them alone. let them go after each other. this is quicksand over there. >> host: so when the thatistration makes a case chemical weapons have been used, what do you make of that argument? anyaller: we have not seen of the evidence. until i've seen the evidence i cannot draw judgment heard i will say this. during world war ii when the knot seas were guessing out millions of people, whether they were jews, christians, intellectuals, polish, don't
7:34 am
matter what, they were guessing as people. we never attacked those camps to because during the war this is a military action. after the war we declared them all war criminals. if this guy did this stuff, declare him a war criminal. make the act legal. feel aboutlly how i it, pedro. we should not be getting involved in this quicksand. i feel bad for the kids and the people over there, but they kill each other left and right every day for thousands of years. up next benjamin from massachusetts. i oppose the action that is being proposed for syria. i see this as just another that the military-
7:35 am
industrial complications -- that the military-industrial comp plex is just indulging their mode of profit. >> why specifically stay out of syria? >> caller: i opposed iraq also. i opposed the united states attempting to police the world. that is not our job. we can't solve all the problems of the world through military force. we are talking about weapons of mass destruction. bombs are weapons of mass destruction. we have no idea what a missile that we would send him to iraq, into serious, what damage, what collateral damage it would cause. explored andn
7:36 am
assessed enough to understand it. it would be a beginning, not an and. a number of our other call us have alluded to that third when you start something you don't know what the outcome is going to be. you don't know what you have to .o that the next step there's always a next step. this would be simply the beginning. ofhost: i have a couple stores to show you. it is from the cover of the "wall street journal." 110 retirees off of its company- sponsored health plan. a sign that big well- capitalized employers aren't likely to keep providing the ones, and benefits as medical costs continue to rise. the move will affect all ibm retirees once they become eligible for medicare. the technology company of managing retirement health benefits. the growing cost of health care
7:37 am
makes its cost sustainable without premium increases. post" talkston about the u.s. and china when it comes to certain types of greenhouse gases. the president and the chinese work on cfcs,d even if they try to make progress with the annual climate talks held by the united nations, an e-mail looking at shows that one analyst said we could cut the equivalent of 100 billion tons of carbon dioxide by 2050 and avoid up to one degree in global warming. that is from "the washington post." we are asking active and retired military to give their thoughts on the strike in syria. military., retired
7:38 am
it's is still debate that we are having here. i agree with your first caller. the first caller who said that we shouldn't go in. and then i also agree with the gentleman from missouri who said that we should hit them and hit them hard. it is a tough situation. we didn't have instagram and everything that we could see that quickly in the past. but to see this little babies when they were, how could you not act? that is ozone park, new york. mike joining us from the retired military. i'm calling weaponsr: the chemical were made in russia. i don't know that phony was who
7:39 am
said he was in the chem unit and said that reagan gave them. during the iraq war as the bombing began, there were some hundred 20 vehicle convoy that look asked for immunity from our bombing. it was a major chemical officer for the entire russian military. he went right into the buckeye valley and into syria with it or they're still there today. what was in that convoy, we bombed several of them, but all of the chemicals came from russia. right after we signed the agreement to end chemical arms you got the russian kgb officer who said the production went into super overdrive. that is where is all coming from. our big problem is iran. we cannot trust this president one iota being military because he is stepping us in the back right now. you try to go to the va, but it is nothing but a jobs agency for anyone connected enough to get in there. it is crooked as all get out heard anything with va or the
7:40 am
military. if i was union i would get taken care off -- i would get taken care of. they want to put us in the soil. mike.t: that is another consideration by the house gop over defending obamacare and a stopgap bill. a clean bill without the aamacare provision remains possibility. house speaker john boehner and other leaders will not make a final decision until they have a chance to meet with rank-and- file lawmakers who are due back monday after a five-week summer recess. provoking a fight now over obamacare would increase the odds of a government shutdown and force congress to expend additional energy on the health being -- it is rapidly rapidly facing other issues.
7:41 am
mike joins us from rhode island. are you active or retired military? >> caller: i was just saying, if we are going to go to war, then we should stand by shock and awe and an exit strategy. that is all we have to do and we don't have either one of these. marilyn from south carolina. critics caller: thank you for having me. i don't think we need to invade -- i -- i think we need to don't believe one time is just the answer. havingthat we will be foot soldiers on the ground. there will be a continuing thing. i think we need to several weeks , if we don't spank them in
7:42 am
the beginning, don't spank them in the and. "the new york times" says that millions of nonunion workers and other advocacy groups will join the labor federation. he will asked delegates to pursue a green light for labor reforms. some view the changes as heretical. they can at least restore their clout by building a broad coalition that follows a economic and political agenda. not stopping there, he has proposed making progressive groups like the naacp, the sierra club, the national raza eitherro
7:43 am
formal partners or affiliates of the afl/cio. one more call from chicago, illinois. democrats line number retired military. the marinei was in corps in vietnam for two years. i am not retired from the marine corps. this past sunday i listen to the talking heads and i even tried to call my senator durbin from illinois and tell him that i was against, opposed to the bombing of syria. i listened to the congressional hearings monday and i listened to vietnam veterans chuck hagel and john kerry and of course general maxwell. and i wantced me vietnam veterans in particular to pay attention to the discussion. this is about making a statement for the world against chemical
7:44 am
weapons. john, what was a thing that convinced you? to vietnam veterans talking from their heart on the podium. talking about the necessity of this military action. those got multiple purple hearts. these guys know what soldiers heart is all about. d. every soldier deals with it whether it is a drama or a gallon. i value our representatives opinions. to the fellow in florida, if you have such a tough time with his 272rnment and the va, post american legion is inviting you to come to chicago. we will help you with your difficulties with the va. job, i got run out of
7:45 am
a paper factory and the va has been generous and kind and welcoming to me. we will have to leave it there and we appreciate all of you called to give your opinion this morning. believes that the u.s. has more obligation. rowdy thinks we have more responsibility. their leader medea benjamin joins us later on washington journal." going to annapolis, maryland. if you have been watching our networks over the weekend, you know that they give you a chance not only to talk to all of us, they give you sights and sounds. we will take a break and then we will come back as "washington journal" continues.
7:46 am
we will be right back. i didn't realize how bad the jim crow movement had been after the war in the early 1900s. and that i found a real shock. annapolis was one of the two cases decided by the supreme court of the united states for the grandfather clause. you couldn't vote in annapolis unless you had $500 worth of robbery in the city, unless you're naturalized or you were the son of a natural citizen. or unless your grandfather could in january 1, 1868. in 1860 eight, voting in annapolis is tied to the 1867 constitution of maryland which allowed voting only to males,
7:47 am
white males. if your grandfather was not a white male and couldn't vote you couldn't vote. no matter the 15th amendment in 1870 in annapolis. if you couldn't vote in 1868 you couldn't vote in 1908, which not probably 700 out of 800 possible voters. maintain family time and protect their privacy, edith roosevelt purchased a family retreat called pine not. ot. this is a kn .amily place sagamore hill had become a place where tr had politicians and press and constantly a hubbub of activity. this was the one place where it was rotted family time.
7:48 am
the roosevelts made it very clear they did not want anyone but family here. >> meet edith roosevelt as we begin season two of our original series, first ladies, influence and image. looking at the public and private lives of the women who served as first lady. monday night, live at 8:00 a.m. eastern. on -- at 8:00 p.m., eastern. >> "washington journal" continues. first couple questions about your organization. where is it funded and what does it do? >> the foreign policy initiative is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. it was founded by william , andol, eric edelman
7:49 am
dancing or, former bush administration official. we are a nonpartisan organization and we focus on u.s. leadership, both in terms of economics, diplomacy and security. in terms of our funding, we get funding from a variety of donors. states.ut the united that what is a position you take on military efforts led by the united states? there's immoral purpose. at the same time it has to be connected to u.s. national security interests. i can say that a situation which both our moral interests and our core national security interests have been implicated trade host: >> and in terms of syria? inguest: we have an interest
7:50 am
how assad falls and what comes afterwards. years last two and a half i have been following this issue for the last two and half years, i say that what we have seen is that the united states has been often very late to act. had we acted earlier, the situation might be very different today. i often explain when i'm briefing on the hill or just two people out there, foreign policy problems are a lot like cancer. if you deal with it early, if you identify the problem and deal with it early, you can take more modest and perhaps more -- or haps less risky action to control it. if you wait and don't act, these problems start to mr. -- these problems start to metastasize. this is what we're seeing today. we are seeing a convergence of a rogue regime that is using chemical weapons repeatedly, but also the emergence in some quarters of extremist groups. obama andat president members of congress especially
7:51 am
at the leadership level are worried about the convergence of these chemical weapons and extremists. would you say it is too late to act? first anduest: guest: foremost at the chemical weapons level, we may have to take this cancer in serious seriously and take more drastic actions. >> host: such as? we may see even more widespread use of chemical weapons in syria or god for bid the use of chemical weapons against syria's neighbors such as the u.s. allies israel or turkey. i think it would intentionally compel the united states to countenance more than it has countenanced today. you may have seen gallup polls that have shown how the public is opposed to such
7:52 am
actions in syria. i think that the president over the last two and probably should have done a lot more to explain to the american people what is going on in syria and why it matters. there is a reason why on august 21 president obama basically demanded that aside step down. his problem has been going on for two and half years. -- wet inc. that-that ignore this figurative cancer in foreign policy and now it is metastasizing. as ink that people are -- engage with lawmakers and people that i know, they are still struggling to understand what is going on. i am hopeful that when president obama gives a speech on tuesday, i believe he is scheduled to speak, that he will really present the case. at a time like this we need clear and precise decisive
7:53 am
presidential leadership to explain what is at stake, what the moral issues are. but also at the core national security issues are in syria and the wider middle east. >> host: what have you not heard him say directly or secretary kerry are others were making speeches? >> guest: we need to very clearly explain how his proposed limited use of military force relates to a larger strategy in syria. over the last week we have heard a variety of lawmakers ranging from senator mccain and senator graham and others in the house rangle with this issue. i often explain it this way. there heard to me to issues. bute is a more constrained still important issue about the use of chemical weapons and weapons of mass destruction in syria and how you respond to that trade and there is a larger issue about if we do believe in a post assad syriac, how to get
7:54 am
there? as i briefed congressional staffers privately over the last week, that has been a concern. how do you connect this to that? >> generally, there is an imperative both in terms of moral values and a u.s. core strategic national security interest in response to chemical weapons use. and we should. responded toe chemical use, we still have a variety of discussions is how to move forward. we are not necessarily locked into -- i think a lot of people are worried about boots on the ground. the obamay, administration and lawmakers leading on this issue have not proposed news on the ground. what they propose our military assads to degrade the regime's ability to deliver chemical weapons. seeking to deter aside
7:55 am
from using them for weapons or other wmds. why? the reason why is that if the assad regime is allowed to do this with impunity, it is going to set an awful precedent in the middle east. region a very awful nearby is iran. a country that is trying to get nuclear weapons in violation of its international obligations. we have a red line coming down in terms of iran's efforts to get nuclear weapons making capability. debate today is very much redline on americas iran's nuclear weapon making program. volatilityesn't the theyria complicates question of mission creep? there is always the
7:56 am
risk of mission creep and every mission. as part of the reason why the president needs to go out there and own it and talk to the people in prime time, because he needs to explain the larger purpose of this. and really explain it clearly. as i have talked to lawmakers, staff and people that i know and deal with, they don't really fully -- haven't heard a strong argument from the president. i think that is what we need to see. our guest from the foreign-policy initiative talking about the syria initiative. twitter is available and c-span heard you can also e-mail us at washington journal@c-span.org.
7:57 am
i want you to listen to what he has to say and get your response to it. >> i think it is safe for me to jump the gun and speculate because right now i am working to get as much support as possible out of congress. but i will repeat something that i said in sweden. i did not put this before just as a political point or as symbolism. i put it before congress because i could not honestly claim that the threat posed by assad's use of chemical weapons on innocent civilians and women and children posed an imminent direct threat to the united states. in that situation obviously i don't worry about congress, we do what we have to do to keep
7:58 am
american people safe. i could not say that it was immediately, directly going to have an impact on our allies. again, in those situations i would act right away. when you hear the president talked like that about syria, what is your reaction? i'm always glad to see a sitting president talk about foreign-policy. it is something that is often put to the side and it is something that the american people need to possibly hear about and need explained. i think the president is still working on his message. sense, he has done a couple of press availabilities over the last week when he was in sweden, most recently yesterday. what he needs is to go on primetime time television the way previous presidents have and really take his case to the american people. that is what you're going to see on tuesday, apparently, after congress gets back. >> host: danny is from minnesota
7:59 am
and is the first caller on independent line. >> caller: i have heard your guest mention a couple of times both the moral aspect of going into syria. the gassing killed 1400 people. , menany innocent people and women and children, are in ouro be killed sending missiles into syriac or i just don't see the connect their. thus, i can't believe that theident obama has made case for an imminent danger to the united states. the gentlemanve answered those two questions. thank you. i guess the first thing i would say is number one comedy people have been killed so far? human rights groups say that over 110,000 people have died over the last two and a half
8:00 am
years. seven or 8 million are displaced about a third of serious population. 5 million are displaced internally and 2 million plus are refugees and foreign countries. question,your second u.s. comedy people would be killed if the united states does take military action. i guess in two ways, will when the united states uses military force, it abides by the laws of armed conflict and seeks to minimize innocent deaths. it does a lot, we have a lot of warriors in the pentagon. they work hard because he understand how important it is to target only combatants and not hit civilians. the asad regime has taken the completely opposite approach in dealing with the syrian population and rebels in syria. what they have done with rebels
8:01 am
in recent years is gradually increase the use of indiscriminate force. what i mean is that usually what you saw his militias and troops firing into crowds. --didn't escalate into tanks it escalated into tanks into cities where there were protesters. they had not yet picked up arms to rebel. subsequently you saw the asad regime use helicopters and aerial bombing both against unarmed civilians and the beginnings of an armed rebellion. subsequently you saw the asad regime -- the assad the last point i would add as part of the regime strategy of indiscrim gnat force, it's precisely the opposite of the way the western country would deal with an insurgency or that sort of thing. what assad has done is actually
8:02 am
targets indiscrim natalie civil populations, to separate populations away from rebels and that is just contrary to the laws of armed conflict. and so just on that note what he is doing is just a moral atrocity. host: betty, democrat's line. caller: give me a second. i want to ask this gentleman, when he says we have a moral obligation to go over in syria, what does exactly he mean? because the answers he's given so far i'm losing him. and i think moral starts here at home. we can't even work with this president to get a gun law passed here in this country to protect the people over here in this country another thing, if there was a draft dash because i can imagine you have never put on a uniform because if you went over and fought yourself or had someone like your kids go over and fight you wouldn't
8:03 am
be so red i-to take on the world. these are people. and i heard you say if we can't get them by missiles maybe we'll have to go farther. you are killing people. those people in syria thai don't come over here and bomb us. why are we so quick to go in other people's countries and tell them what to do when the united states is not doing our job? and if the draft comes will you be the first one to volunteer? if not you should think about what you're trying to do. guest: i think you asked a couple questions. one is about the moral obligation of the united states. here's what i mean by that. the united states is an indispensible pillar in the international community. it's a leader of the free world and a beacon to those who seek security, prosperity and human
8:04 am
dignity. over the last 2-1/2 years the united states has tried a mixture of diplomacy, nonmilitary efforts such as diplomacy and economic pressure and raising to the world awareness about what the regime was doing there as the assad regime slaughtered people. the united states has tried a variety of things, especially at the united nations level to try to get the assad regime to negotiate, to have cease fires, to have dialogues, and at every time the assad regime has used u.s. and international efforts to try to stop the violence there through nonmilitary means. the assad regime has used this as an excuse to continue the slaughter. president obama as early as august 2011 said that president assad has lost his legitimacy by killing people who frankly were doing what you're doing
8:05 am
right now, you're calling in expressing your opinions. assad's use of military force as been against people who were just massing to protest, ask for political reform, for a greater voice. and the way the regime responded was by using lethal force. and it's only continued. so my answer is it's really difficult for the united states to maintain its moral and strategic leadership in the world if it is not willing to also back up its words with deeds. host: kathy from montgomery, texas. republican line. caller: good morning. if i remember so many people crussfid george bush for going to work and our country was actually attacked at that time. i just think that president obama with his ignorance has weakened our country. he is here, he is there, he is everywhere. no one knows what to believe. he is a terrible leader.
8:06 am
we don't have the money to spend. our soldiers are tired. they're sick of this. and sir, the people in that part of the world despise us. what good is this going to do? it help anybody. i do feel sorry for these people who are being killed. but our country can't do this any more. we just can't. we have to stop somewhere. maybe their arab partners around there can do something. or maybe they can pitch in lail money. host: the financial aspects. guest: a couple things, too. the caller said that the people over there despise us and i would just say, be careful about making generalizations about people in the middle east. because there are people out there for the last 2-1/2 years early on calling for the united states to exert its moral leadership and to really speak out against what assad was doing. it's a little dangerous to say
8:07 am
those people over there and make gross generalizations. in terms of the cost, it depends on what the united states seeks to do. at this point, if we're talking about just limited standoff strikes and perhaps just imited use of air power, the missiles we've already bought. we would be dealing with with this budget which is under sequester right now, how will they shift what are called operations maintenance funds? but right now the operation the president is counting over a series of days will be relatively modest in cost. but i will say if the president does think that we may need to do more than we're doing, he needs to have a frank adult conversation with the american people and explain what's at stake and why we need to do this. >> host: what would be the perception if the president does not get the vote? guest: i think it will be very difficult and very bad.
8:08 am
there are precedents for a sitting president using military force without congressional authorization. i think a recent one that's probably relevant is kosovo in the late 90s. president clinton got the senate to pass an authorization. the house voted against it. but president went in to kosovo, used military force in an operation, and that led to mill osevitch stepping down and being tried in international courts for his war crimes. host: the partners that the president are seeking are few. guest: sure. france has said it would stand with us. in the region we have partners already. they may not join us in aerial strikes or use of standoff weapons, but ranging from jordan which is hosting u.s. troops who are training both jordanian forces as well as syrian rebels, moderate rebels,
8:09 am
training them in and assisting them. turkey has also been helping us in the overall effort in terms of housing refugees. throwing out some numbers in hat our immediate allies are doing. jordan has almost 500,000 refugees in the camp there has alone about nearly 150, 120,000 refugees which makes it in effect jordan's largest city. and jordan is doing it despite the fact that its economic situation is very, very difficult. and second, turkey is home to almost half a million syrian refugees. and turkey has had an open door policy on accepting refugees and is bearing costs in the billions right now to deal with this. host: and the "new york times" highlights lebanon as well. guest: and in addition, israel, which has at times provided
8:10 am
medical aid to refugees in certain instances. israel also has struck the assad regime over the last year three times in various limited uses or of force to prevent them from transfering advanced chemical weapons to hezbollah, a terrorist group that's iranian-backed and based in lebanon. and hezbollah has thousands of fighters right now in syria fighting on behalf of the assad regime. >> we had a caller wanted to ask you if it would be legal to undertake anything because we have not gone to the united nations. guest: the league galt -- no. my first answer is no it's not necessarily illegal if the u.n. security council hasn't approved it. the united states has taken military operations in the past that are legal. the question is what is the source of the league galt. the source can range from congressional offense, it can range from also just the powers
8:11 am
of the presidency inherent in the constitution. even the war powers resolution which was designed not to completely ham string the president. if the president does act he has a time period by which he needs to go back to congress and explain and get approval. host: curtis from georgia. caller: good morning. this is a very complex issue that i think is way above everyone's pay grade. but as i've been listening to the callers i don't think they understand what the foreign policy is on this. we have to strike. if we don't, we are sending a green light to other nations that it is ok to use chemical weapons and we don't want that, especially in that region. the money that we're spending on aid to jordan to take care of these refugees and the others that we're taking care of is going to amount to a lot of money. one of the issues that really bothers me is once we strike, then what do we have?
8:12 am
and we're talking about giving weapons to the insurgents, the good guys, and it's just such a complex issue that i don't think most people understand it. and another thing i would like to say is i'm for the strike and i am retired military, i spent 21 years. but i think the president's message has sent mixed signals to the american people. as i was listening to the hearings obcapitol hill john kerry was saying it's a strategic interest. and i heard robert say the president said it's not an imminent threat to the united states of america. so i hope he clear skies this up and his handlers really take a look at what he has said in the last year or so about this issue and get it clear. but we have to strike. we have to protect our allies. we cannot give a green light to any other nation that it's ok
8:13 am
to use chemical weapon ons their people. thank you. guest: thank you for your call. i agree with you that we can't give the green light to any nation to use chemical weapons or other weapons of mass destruction so indiscrim natalie against populations. you asked two questions. one, if there's a use of force, then what? and your second question was what's the sort of mixed messages that the president is putting out. i think those two are intertwined and my hope is on tuesday when president obama addresses the nation that he makes really clear what his overall goal is. the overall goal again in syria is the emergence of a post assad syria that moves towards moderate governance in which the rights of minorities, whether they be ethnic minorities, religious minorities, women is respected where it's a multisect taryn society and a country that's at
8:14 am
peace with its neighbors and itself. as at the end of the day the syrians will have to do the heavy lifting and hard work. but i think that had president assad -1/2 years ago dealt with a call for reforms peacefully and not started having his troops shoot into protesting crowds and use tanks, artyry air power against both combatants and noncombatants it would have been a difficult process. but i think that the president needs to explain how military force -- which is -- the use of military force is towards political objective, which is again the emergence of a post assad syria. and the president really needs to explain how he is going to connect those two things. >> host: you said the syrians would have to do the heavy lifting. someone says let the locals handle it. guest: they have been and hat's why you've seen an armed
8:15 am
rebellion emerge after assad responded to protesters 2-1/2 years ago with escalating lethal force. d i will add, too, our organization has long urged the united states to identify, vet, and train and assist moderate elements of the armed opposition. and you saw about a year or so ago secretary of state clinton then secretary of defense leon panetta and others, petraeus, head of the c.i.a. at the time, urge president obama to begin that process of train, arm, and assist the rebels. the president at the time declined not to. i think in retrospect we might be in a different position today had he done that. host: ohio up next on our democrat's line. guest: good morning. caller: thanks for taking my call. i think we've been at war for
8:16 am
too long and i think what's happening in syria is a tragedy. but we need to stop sticking our nose in other people's businesses. i just don't think it's right that we're constantly using military force. we'll ly hoping that resolve this as quickly as possible. but we can't just keep spending money er time there's something going on overseas. host: how do you resolve the situation without military force? aller: i don't know. but i think it's going to resolve of its own volition and i don't think we -- we just need to stop sticking our nose in other people's businesses. we've lost so much over the last 10 or 15 years in the middle east. and if we -- the previous caller mentioned we've got to
8:17 am
arm the good guys. how do we know they're the good guys? they are now. but after they win, if they win, how do we know they're oing to be nice to us? guest: thank you for your call. i completely hear you in terms of the war we are in a -- a lot of americans have especially those serving in the u.s. armed forces. they deserve our constant praise and admiration for volunteering to help defend the united states and its interests and values around the world. now, i think, though, your comment raises an interesting question which is, if you don't use military force now, to respond to chemical weapons, what is the alternative? because it seems clear to me that the assad regime is very likely to use chemical weapons
8:18 am
gwen. according to -- the british estimate that assad has used chemical weapons as many as 14 times over the last year alone. and we saw in the most recent attack by the assad radio jet stream as many as nearly 1500 people died. and thousands more were sickened by the sarne attack. and those images were horrific. the worry is that assad -- who is already claiming victory because the united states has taken so long to react, that he will be emboldened to do this again. and what's also worrisome is iran is watching this very closely and they're seeing that if we're not willing to respond to a red line that's been very obviously and egregiously crossed in syria by assad's use of chemical weapons, how likely is the united states and other responsible nations in the international community likely to respond to iran if it crosses another red line that
8:19 am
we have which is getting nuclear weapons-making capability? and i think that this is why the need to respond not just for moral reasons but for reasons of strategy and national security. that's why there is that need. zool there's the statement, no way to secure or remove chemical weapons without putting boots on the ground. guest: i've heard that and there is something to that especially if we don't have partners opt ground among the syrian armed opposition in syria who can help us with that . there are also -- that's part of the reason why the united states has trainers in jordan and in turkey. they're trying to help also local neighboring allies and their forces prepare for that problem. because, frankly, if chemical weapons do get out of control of the assad regime and into the hands of nonstate actors, that's something that's not going to be just the problem of
8:20 am
the united states. that will be the problem of israel, jordan, turkey, all the nations around there. and that will be a clear stage when this sort of figure of foreign policy is really cast sized. host: bonnie from louisiana. republican line. caller: i'd like to speak to this moral high ground that we're supposed to have. if you recall, we used agent orange like crazy in vietnam. we used white phosphorus in fallujaha. we sold the chemicals to hussein. we've used depleted uranium throughout iraq and afghanistan. even in waco we used gas to kill a bunch of people. so i want to know, what is exactly our high ground here? because we use this kind of stuff all the time. and how would we feel if other nations would come in and go the u.s. is using chemicals and blonlkls, maybe we should go in and use some bombing. >> thank you for your question.
8:21 am
i know people make allegations about certain things we've done in the past and one example is yes the united states took what i think in retrospect was a really problematic position with regards to iran and iraq and the use of chemical weapons in the 80s. but i would simply say that we don't need to make our past mistakes hereditary. if we failed to do the right thing in the past we don't need to make our failure hereditary. and i will say that today the question is what do we do today. we've been confronted with evidence and proof that the assad regime has used chemical weapons repeatedly against the syrian people, against civilian noncombatants. we are confronted with that reality. and we must choose how we as americans will respond to that. we may make the choice that we will do nothing. but the choice also to do nothing will have consequences. this is something that i hope president obama will explain
8:22 am
very clearly, articulately, and forcefully that the choice of not to do anything now also has consequences that we may not see. we may see states in a very volatile middle east start to think that they can use chemical weapons, biological weapons, nuclear weapons with impunity. and this is a moment where we definitely do not want to go down that road. host: orlando paints a ypothetical. guest: i think that sort of thing is a nightmare scenario and this is why we have a professional military and civilians working in the pentagon working on targeting. this is why we have an intelligence community that is trying to identify and know that t disposition, locations of chemical weapons. it appears again that the strike that's being countanced by the obama administration,
8:23 am
the limited specific strikes really target the means of delivery of chemical weapons, which is to say things like rockets and missiles as well as perhaps certain elements of the assad regime's air force, and also the same means of delivery for chemical weapons. some are also used to deliver conventional weapons that are killing civilians indiscrim natalie. host: tom, from ohio. caller: good morning. it's about 100-1 here in the united states people do not want this just like in england we have no coalition. everybody is tired of contracting our military out to a bunch of rich sheiks over there in the middle east who live in the middle ages and why didn't we say something when russia was gasing the people in iraq or afghanistan? just like you said that don't
8:24 am
matter. we're tired of this crap. we're tired of protecting the whole world. why don't you get them guys in turkey and saudi arabia go have them kill their own muslim brothers. or are they afraid to do that? thank you. guest: i hear you. i think that -- i see every day how weary americans are about just america's role in the world. i will say a couple things to that. one, if the united states doesn't continue its role as really an essential and indispenable leader in the world, who will take its place? and i think over the last few years you've seen countries like russia and china sort of waiting in the wings. china is a growing economic and military power. and if you really think that if the united states stands down and doesn't maintain its leadership role, in the international community, that china or another country will
8:25 am
step up and be a force for stability and security and frankly good, i have a hard time seeing that. the united states because of everything that we're blessed, i personally believe we have a special burden. my parents came from the third world seeking security, prosperity, and human dignity here in the united states. it's something that i think is a very commodity in this world and that's why people look to us. that's why today syrian's, if you spend time looking at protests over the last 2-1/2 years syrians are calling the united states because we are a symbol of what free people can do when they try to stumble in the right direction. and i guess, i hope that americans really do think seriously about the role we play and the good we are capable of doing. host: aside from syria do you think there's a general change in american sentiment towards military intervention? guest: i think yes. i mean, it's always a hard thing. the choice to use military force should never be taken
8:26 am
lightly. and i wholly agree that before using military force, you should have exhausted all the options. and i think we come to a point today where we have pretty much -- we have exhausted all the options. we have tried diplomacy. we had ba himi. we had cofi annan. we tried to push serious resolutions through the u.n. security council and both russia and china continue to refuse to play a role and russia is trying to defend the use of chemical weapons by trying to drag red herrings through the debate. we've tried economic pressure, sanctions, all these sorts of things. we tried to use raising the issue internationally. and also, i should add leading members of congress have tried to draw national and international attention to what's going on in a variety of things and none have worked. what's worse we just saw assad
8:27 am
regime cross a red line that the president did articulate. but it is a red line for all civilized -- civilization. the use of chemical weapons against unarmed noncombatants. if we can't come to consensus that's wrong -- and i hope there is a strong consensus saying that's wrong. and if we can't figure out at this very moment what we do about it and to make sure that is a red line that no countryr crosses again, then we will have to actually answer foreign action at some point. i worry. years down the line. >> how much public sentiment influenced by iraq and afghanistan? >> of course it influences. but i also say presidential and congressional leadership influences public sentiment. and i think again we need to see president obama own this situation, really, really own the situation. and when you do that, you will also see congressional lawmakers start to own the situation, too.
8:28 am
but i worry that the perception is that the obama administration on the one hand by saying to congress there is a perception on capitol hill that the administration doesn't really want to on it and just wants to kind of spread the responsibility. we're all responsible. and two, once you see the president take charge of it -- i think if you saw decisive leadership, and i hope we'll see in the president's speech on tuesday. if you see deliberate decisive ownership of this situation, you will begin to change minds. we saw it with president bush, with the surge, as soon as he started going to prime time television explaining why we're doing this surge in iraq, you saw public approval for it increase. you haven't seen that sort of attempt, this really forceful attempt at persuasion yet, i hope, by the administration. but we still have time. host: eric from delaware. caller: good morning. my comment is there was an organization, the project for
8:29 am
the new american century, which stored to bring democracy to the middle east and we started with iraq and we've seen the wonderful results there and beyond now in afghanistan. that's a disaster there. and now we want to go into syria. i think it's a global perspective of the american enterprise institute and of guys like wolf wits and abram and so on. so the objective will be to control the resources of the world to make sure china doesn't get it so the next step of the war because there. and i am sick and tired of this war mongering of officials like i see on television. who is this?
8:30 am
i never heard of this organization. guest: thank you for your comments. if i understood it correctly, you're basically saying that right wing conspiracy groups are making a very progressive liberal president do things. i do think that's an interesting argument. some people might say that. but this is a situation in which the president, who came to office having a very different view of foreign policy than governor romney, has come to a conclusion that what's going on in syria affects america's core u.s. national security interests as well as its moral leadership in the world. and the president has decided to act. i think that we are seeing -- that is a very healthy debate. i think before the use of force happens there should be public debate. the public needs to be engaged, the public needs to be informed. we need lawmakers -- i used to
8:31 am
work on capitol hill and there's so many things going on for a member ranging from domestic issues to foreign policy issues to the stuff they have to do on the political side to stay in the office, run campaigns, perhaps i'm biased as a former foreign policy staffer and someone who works at a think tank. but i think it's critical that our leaders engage us still throughout the campaign process and every day on foreign policies so that we have an informed public. host: one more call from indiana. shirley, republican line. caller: good morning. i just am really upset about the thing that is i am hearing. we really as americans we don't have a choice. look at that tv. look at those babies out there lying. the president does need to step up. we're in a crucial time and for ourselves. nobody wants war. i don't like war.
8:32 am
but it's just -- it's our duty. we have to do this. we cannot be weak here. we have to stand strong. and we need to do it now. guest: thank you for your comment. i guess what you say accords with something i said earlier, which is i think when america's moral leadership and its values are connected to america's larger u.s. national security interests, when you have a president that is really willing to make that argument and not just make it but make it publicly, clearly, and prime time, really own it, you will see the american people turn around. and that's something i hope we'll see on tuesday. host: rob joining us to talk about his thoughts on syria. if you want to find out more about the organization? guest: foreign policy i.org. host: and he serves as their policy director. we'll get another tape from the
8:33 am
group code pink who has been long known for their protest against military conflict. you may have seen them this week. the ahead of the group will join us. later on we'll take a look at the g-20 summit. the global economy was the main reason for the meeting. "washington journal" will break down what takes place as we ontinue.
8:34 am
8:35 am
8:36 am
host: our guest, the cofounder of code pink, welcome to the program. guest: thanks. host: people have probably seen you in action but for those who don't know, what is code pink and how did it get its name? guest: we started during the bush years when there was the color coded alert. and we felt that it was actually designed to justify more violence and we thought we needed to deescalate the violence and that code pink was
8:37 am
a call to look for other ways to deal with problems in the world. host: so the purpose of the organization generally? guest: we started out trying to stop the war in vietnam. at that point there was a lot of fervor for going to war and we thought it was actually our patriotic duty to be dissidents, to get up and say iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, we shouldn't invade. and we continue to this day to be a voice of people saying let's look for nonviolent ways and let's use our resources to rebuild this country. host: so what's the official take on syria when it comes to your organization? guest: well, we are very opposed to a u.s. military intervention. we feel that this will not help the syrian people. some of us have actually been to syria and the border just when this war started breaking out. and when the refugees starting pouring into turkey and we realized there was a crisis. we thought we should be helping
8:38 am
the refugees, we should be calling on the international community to intervene by calling for peace negotiations. that didn't happen. and we have been saying ever since that it's important to find nonviolent ways, including an arms embargo, including a cease fire, including negotiations, help refugees that would be positive for the syrian people, not escalating the violence. >> host: because this has been talked about as a humanitarian effort, especially those who died from chemical attacks, is it hard to relate what happened in syria, especially when it comes to the men, women and children in concerns and your protest in syria? guest: we're concerned about the deaths in syria from anything, whether chemical weapons or conventional weapons, there's been way too many deaths. and i think if we take it from a perspective of what will decrease the violence, what will lead to a solution, everybody says, even president obama, that there's got to be a political settlement.
8:39 am
but we think an invasion will actually make it harder to get a political settlement, will lead to more syrians dying. and i think this is the sentiment we're hearing from around the country host: what about the stand that the president has taken on this? guest: i think it's ashame that he has sort of given his word that there is this red line now and feels that he has to move forward on that in a military way. i think that it's hard for a president to back down at this point. but this is not about saving face for the president. this is about what is the best thing for the united states, what's best for syria, what's best for the world community. and i think the president is wrong on this one. and we, the people, have to step up and say that our red line is a different red line. our red line is looking at all the problems we have in this country and how are we going to address those problems, and how are we going to deal with the international community according to legal means and
8:40 am
it's very strange to me to hear the president saying that we will go intervene in syria in a way that is against what the u.n. is calling for what the secretary general is calling for what international law says because syria has violated international law. that's not the way you do things. host: the argument that russia is going to veto it anyway. guest: the u.s. hasn't even play that had one out, hasn't brought all its evidence that it has to the security council much less to the american public. there is much we don't know about this and would like to know. and then, given a chance for the world community to see with this overwhelming evidence that president obama says he has, what will the russians and the chinese do? take it to the security council? host: talking about syria, their efforts against military action there. you can ask her questions on one of three lines this morning.
8:41 am
as far as your efforts are going these days, how do they compare back when you were active on iraq? guest: well, on iraq we had more time to build up. so we actually built up very quickly and the peace movement grew to where we could have demonstrations with hundreds of thousands of people out in the streets. this is happening now under a democratic administration. it's happening very quickly. but i must say, i'm really proud of the american people because without organizations so much pushing them they have spontaneously risen up throughout the united states and said to their representatives, listen to what the people are saying. the polls are overwhelming as you know against going to war and when i have been going into the offices of congress people, whether it's republicans or
8:42 am
democrats, the phones are ringing off the hook and it's almost entirely saying don't go to war. so this is really a spontaneous rebellion, we're calling it a peace insurrecks, by people who come from very different ideological spectrums and i think it's a very positive thing the american people are doing. host: there was a piece which shows your cofounder. the headline says guest: i think that was actually a week ago and things have changed in just a week's time and it's amazing to see how groups have quickly responded to this and they're getting their members reenergized, they're getting tens of thousands of calls into their constituents, into their elected officials, and i think we're seeing in the next couple days an amazing roadwork of
8:43 am
activity in a very short time to organize it. there will be vigils throughout the country. there is a protest in washington, d.c. this afternoon that will probably be large and others around the country there is a lot of movement happening. but i must say that's one particular piece of it. the more traditional anti-war peace movement. what we're seeing is really much, much larger than that because as you've seen from people calling in on the republican line, this really crosses ideologies as nothing has before that i have seen in my lifetime. and it is really interesting that it doesn't so much take now a peace movement that might consider itself coming from a progressive end of the democratic party because there's a lot of divisions within the progressive end of the democratic party. this is coming from a very broad spectrum. and i think that's very healthy. >> host: is it difficult for that progressive end to do what they're doing especially with the president they have in the
8:44 am
white house? guest: for some groups it's been very difficult. we saw yesterday the center for american progress hosting samantha power, the u.n. representative who came to continue the pitch for war. and some of us were outside there protesting. now, this is a liberal democratic organization, a think tank where we have gone many times to hear many interesting discussions and we thought, all right, if you're having her, at least have somebody else on the other side. she didn't even take questions. so you're seeing yes, it's difficult for groups to tie themselves to a democratic party. but groups like mine code pink were never tied to the democratic party, although republicans used to accuse us. it's not trufmente and i think they've seen over these years and it's not just been about syria. we've been out protesting the obama administration about its drone were favor for the past years we've been one of the strongest groups saying this is killing a lot of people.
8:45 am
so we think it's important to protest our government no matter who is in the white house. host: we'll talk about your tactics. but you have some calls lined up. our first call from florida democrat's line. good morning. aller: good morning. i agree. i think that we need to stay out of these wars. i think that this was obama's personal agenda. i read his books and his second book his first chapter he states if the political winds should ever change, i would have to go with my muslim brothers. now, with that said -- and these are his words -- i don't trust this president. i don't believe about the serin gas. i watched last week this past week the attorney general for the u.n. state they don't really know it's sarin, number one. number two, they're not sure who is using it.
8:46 am
what side is using it. and i agree also, american people across the board do not want this. we've been making many, many calls to our senators. we don't want it. we're tired of being used. we go in, we spend their money, and they hate us anyway. one more thing i would like to say. china has a lot of i want rest. why doesn't china go take care of it? and afghanistan, they have all the rights to their minerals. $30 billion. host: we'll let our guest respond. guest: the muslim world is very divided on this and i would say the vast majority are gevpbs the u.s. going in. in fact, the largest country in the world, indonesia, has just come out just at these talks against the u.s. military attack. but i would agree with the sentiment of the caller in the sense that this doesn't make sense for the united states to get involved in. and that i hope the american
8:47 am
people won't be wayed by remarks that the president makes on tuesday when he continues his sales pitch to the american people. i hope that the american public will hold firm in saying that there are times that we have to go up against our president, whether it's a george bush or a president obama, and say that we, the american people, actually have a gut feeling that this is not right for us. we've seen what's happened with the u.s. intervention over these 11 years and how it's actually been bad for the muslim world. so let's keep up that spirit of saying no to this war. host: have you been surprise bid the reaction of congress? guest: i've been surprised by all of the different factions that have come out. and i've been -- i understand how hard it is for a number of members of congress because some of them are republicans who usually go for a military solution and they are continuing to go for military solution, but then of course there are the small government
8:48 am
republicans as well as the tea party republicans and more libertarians who have taken a very strong stand against this. on the democratic side, you find a reluctance of -- there are people like nancy pelosi who is supposed to be a leader in her party, she has come ut to support the president. but her district is very much against this. and i know she is hearing an earful from the people in her district. and she has said, well, i'm not going to be pushing this very much within the party. so i think the democrats have a really conflict ds internal time about this where they feel some loyalty to the president and this is certainly true within the black caucus and even in the progressive caucus, but then they are elected by their people and they're supposed to be listening to their constituents. host: greebt, maryland. democrat's line. caller: good morning. this is music to my ears what she is bringing forth.
8:49 am
our own that we have red line here in this country i'm a proud african american scientists. and let me explain to you what i think the real problem here is. i'm glad the president went to the congress. now it's in the ballpark of the congress and they're going to have to act now. and i'm supportive of my president. however, i disagree with him on this issue. i believe we have many problems to solve here in this country. these are very advanced systems the navy has the cruise missiles, these devices can deliver a payload thousands of pounds of high explosives to targets anywhere in the world. when you press a button they will go right to the point. the problem here is these systems have the capability of striking targets. we can go at the targets. however, there can be mistakes
8:50 am
and errors made and this can plunge us into diverse problems and wars. and something could go wrong here. but -- host: thanks, caller. guest: yes. i agree with the caller that there are unknown consequence that is could be absolutely disastrous. whether it's hitting the wrong target and releasing some of these chemical gases that would lead to deaths of more civilians, or whether it's just the hornet's nest of the u.s. getting involved in a civil war that is just so complicated. we already know on the rebel side there are many groups affiliated to al qaeda that are part of this. and we certainly don't want to be seen strengthening those groups but that is probably a consequence. and then there is just the region. already, the u.s. is now asking unessential personnel from lebanon to leave that country. there's talks about the shiite militias in iraq hitting the u.s. embassy. of course there are talked
8:51 am
about israel being attacked and then the u.s. going in to support israel. this is very, very complicated and i think the caller is reflecting how you never know with a tomahawk missile what you are going to target and what the consequences of that are going to be. host: joe on our republican line from west virginia. i was wondering, because of the way that he has gone about this for two years people have been talking about how horrible assad was and he did it so abruptly and so poorly. i just wonder sometimes, is it a cover for him trying to shove in obama care which starts next month to distract? and also, he never goes to congress for anything. he mandates anything that he wants to mandate. he goes around some of the thing that is have been passed. i heard this one woman saying
8:52 am
that the person that they defunded he just put them in a different named position doing exactly the same thing. and paid them. so i just wonder if it's just a complete distraction. because i can't believe that he could seriously think about taking the chance of getting us involved in a war. guest: i don't think it's a purposeful distraction, but in fact it is a distraction from so many key domestic issues that we should be focusing on. i think it's also a distraction from promoting peace efforts. we look at when john kerry came in and immediately he said he was going to be tackling the issue of israel-palestine and trying to get some kind of peace process going again. all that has been shoved aside. so whether it's domestic issues or other important international issues, these have all been overshadowed by this pending attack on syria. host: jack from twitter says this.
8:53 am
guest: i think this is an issue that we have to work with the international community. first of all the international community says wait for the report from the weapons inspectors. there's also been people who have been calling for another round of weapons inspectors not only to determine what was used but to determine who used it. the united states should also reveal its internal intercepts that show this is coming from the assad regime. people around the world want more information. once that information is collected, then let's take that to the security council, let's show that to the russians and the chinese. let's show that to the international criminal court. let's take that to the world community and say let's do an arms embargo. but i think what's really the most important thing is to focus on how are we going to lessen the number of deaths? because if it's over 100,000
8:54 am
deaths for the people who are dying the most important thing is they need a cease fire and they need a political solution. host: if somebody asked you about your tactics, which do you think are the most effective? guest: i think the most important tactics are the ones the public doesn't see, which is when we get over about 200,000 members or supporters around the country to be flooding the phone lines of their congress people and to be going into meetings and to going into town halts and to be confronting directly their elected officials with our opposition to this invasion. that might not be as flshy as when you see us with red hands behind john kerry, but that is really the essential work that has to be done by the grass roots community. host: so we have a little bit of your group in action as far as tactics. let's show a little bit and then we'll continue.
8:55 am
>> need to have health care, education. o more war in syria. host: so when you do that, what's the point? what kind of results does it get? does it ultimately make a difference? guest: i think right now we're seeing an example of where there's overwhelming opposition out in the hinterland and yet in the halls of congress you're not feeling that. what you're feeling is the pressure that comes from the political machine here. and that's the democrat and republican leadership who are both pushing for this war. and so we feel that at times like this there has to be the voice of the people that is heard. these are public hearings and i've always said public hearings should have a time when the public gets to stay something. let us stand in line to get our 60 seconds. give us a little bit of time. and since the public doesn't have that, sometimes we feel
8:56 am
compelled to shout it out. host: we're seeing a view with the hands up behind secretary of state kerry. sometimes your actions are more vocal. how do you decide what tactic to use? guest: the day before i was in the senate and i had a vocal tactic and got taken to jail and arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. so if i came back in the next day, i would not be allowed -- i would be staying in jail and we were told by the police that we would be arrested even before the gavel goes down, which means before the hearing even starts if we said anything we would be arrested, which is not right. before the gavel goes down the people should have their say. after the gavel goes down the people should have their say. but since we had been told that we decided to be silent. host: when you walk through the door can they identify you and they know what's going to happen? guest: we're not trying to hide ourselves. we're usually wearing a lot of pink. and we -- they know us. in fact, i must say we have a
8:57 am
very nice relationship with the capitol police. they know us over these years. they know we're very peaceful people. and they appreciate the passion that we have. on this one, i don't want to get anybody in trouble so i won't say names but i must tell you we got a lot of thumbs up from the police who say they are really unhappy about this and they're glad that we're speaking up . host: how many times have you been arrested? guest: a couple of dozen times. not necessarily in congress. i'm 60 years old i've been doing protests for many, many years around all kinds of issues. and i think this is a tradition in the united states that goes way back about using civil disoh beadions against laws that we think are unjust. host: it says here in 2012 you were part of a human rights delegation and you were tear gased and deported. guest: thai rain is a grass roots movement against a very
8:58 am
undemocratic government that is being supported by the united states. and we went in as human rights observers and couldn't believe the kind of oppression that we saw there with u.s. tear gas being aimed with canisters being aimed directly at people. those things can kill you. we almost got shot with those. and yes, we were deported. but i think it's an example where the u.s. is on the wrong side and making a lot of people in the muslim world unhappy because the u.s. is sending weapons to repressive governments like the government of bahrain. host: this is paul from massachusetts, independent line. caller: good morning. i would just like to make a couple of comments. those who think that we can send the missiles over and weaken assad have another thing coming because the people that are going to come in to replace him -- if he falls, the groups that are going to try to take
8:59 am
over his position and possibly gain control of these chemical weapons is going to cause those chemical weapons to go into hands of people that we would never want to support. so i don't know who we're going to help over there. the second thing is during the iraq war, we begged israel to back off when missiles were flying into israel left and right. israel is not going to back off this time. he is not the best friend of obama. and no matter what he says, once the missiles start flying into israel, israel is going to unleash its entire military against not only syria but also iran, which is going to open up a whole new problem for the united states. so they say no boots on the ground not right now, but they'll be coming. guest: i think your callers are very su fist kated and have over the years gotten an understanding of how
9:00 am
complicated this region is. and the caller's first comment about if indeed assad was overthrown, who would take over, is a very, very scary thought given the fiercest fighters right now are the ones that are related in some way to al qaeda. and i think the caller israel is now in favor of the u.s. intervention. the israeli supported groups in aipacited states such as have come out in favor of this and are sending people to to call for congress to vote in favor of an attack in syria. this is a bad move because it is very bad for israel. your caller is right. this could lead to a horrendous
9:01 am
development. caller: what is going on in the middle east has always been there. just because we have a black man in office, everything he does and says everything the congress doesn't says is going to be doesized, scrutinized -- and says is going to be minimized, scrutinized. everything has boiled up over the years. president obama this, that. you cannot put it on him. he wants to help these people affectedbeen chemically. we are the powerhouse.
9:02 am
we help those who cannot help themselves. host: thank you. validity to is some what the caller said about -- certainly some within the republican party would use it as a way to attack president obama. for the most part, that is not what this is about. polls, the at the majority of african-americans are not supporting the president on this one. it's important to separate out people possible for the people possible or for the president, and support for this action. host: i what you listen to this and react to this. was elected to end wars,
9:03 am
not start them. i spend less foreign a half years doing everything i can to reduce our reliance on military means of meeting our international obligations and protecting the american people. times know that there are when we have to make hard choices if we will stand up for the things that we care about. i believe this is one of those times. host: medea benjamin. guest: the president was elected to represent the american people. i would be proud of him if you listened now -- he listened now to the overwhelming sentiment of the american people and backed down. there are many ways to back down in a positive fashion. we are going to
9:04 am
sit down together and negotiate how we're going to stop weapons sales to syria, how we're going to push for a cease-fire, and how we're going to push for a political settlement. proud, andmake me make me feel that my president was listening to the american people, which is his job. host: there are pictures in the "financial times" of john kerry today. john kerry being the president's point man on syria policy. guest: i am very disappointed with the role that john kerry is playing. at these hearings is astounding. it's almost as if he has taken over the role of secretary of defense. he is supposed to be the highest
9:05 am
diplomats in the u.s.. it is posted be looking for creative solutions that are diplomatic solutions. i wish we had more of that 27- year-old john kerry in him these days. is very bad for his own reputation and for this government. host: you were holding up your hands while he was testifying? guest: yes. we really think that john kerry is wrong on this one. he doesn't sound convincing to the majority of americans. he doesn't sound convincing to the majority of people in congress. this is not looking good for john kerry or president obama. can findhat john kerry a way to back off and use his
9:06 am
skills, his energy, his influence to find diplomatic solutions. host: are they too far and? -- in? guest: no. i think they can gracefully say that they are listening to what the people are saying. i think they have to say that they understand the world community is saying, will be the best thing to decrease the violence in syria -- what will be the best thing to decrease the violence in syria? u.n.f the needs that the has to help the crisis are the millions of refugees, and that has not been met. host: a caller on our republican line. caller: i'm a conservative republican, and i have been my entire life. i'm very much against this war.
9:07 am
i have called my congressman. i encourage people in the district to get his number online and call his office. he has come out in support of this war. i want him to change his vote. we still have boys coming back from afghanistan in body bags. i'm very angry about this. it has nothing to do about president obama. i've never been a supporter of this ist obama, but about going to war, and i'm against it. if my congressman expects me to continue to support him -- i have donated in the past. he is wrong and needs to change his vote. i can't believe i'm agreeing with somebody from code pink. i put up an "no war" sticker in my car to my for crying out loud. loud., for crying out
9:08 am
usually call into shows or call my congressman or do any of that stuff, but this has really hit home. i do not want this war. within my own family, and to my relatives who might be watching who are supporters of the most answer but if part of the republican party, they called me and said they are very proud of me, and this is the first thing we have agreed on politically in a long time. that what this caller is doing is calling into c-span, but more importantly, his congressman. anybody who is listening, call your congressperson.
9:09 am
monday, tuesday, wednesday are critical days. we are going to be across from to have avery day physical presence. let's build this people's insurrection and stop this war. a question this morning about funding, how much is spent on bail and travel. listeners toourage sign up. we put out calls for donations. we get tremendous generosity from our supporters, especially at times like this. included?l fees guest: we have to pay for that personally. host: tom from washington, d.c., independent line.
9:10 am
she is a real voice for the american interest, which i believe is peace. your previous caller from the is onn policy initiative a board with robert kagan, these weretal, -- all guys that were pushing the and in a rock -- iraq afghanistan. i have been watching you over the years. you have gotten it right every drones,iraq, vietnam, bahrain. these guys, they keep pushing wars. offshoot for the new
9:11 am
american century. frustrated because i see that those people in congress who were pushing against me ira -- the iraq war are now the same voices that seem to be wanting to be for this war. what can i do to help to bring about a nonviolent and in syria -- end in syria? the color brings of so many important issues about, who are the people in the past to have been pushing this war -- color brings up so many important issues about, who are the people in the past who have been pushing for the war, and why are they being invited to be experts in think tanks now?
9:12 am
we need to have fresh voices out there who are leading the think tanks. is arms of congress, it shame to see some of the people who i think under the bush administration would never be in favor of this, and are now leaning in that direction. the cochair of the progressive cost gifts, i don't think he would favor this under the bush administration, but he is favoring it now. constituency in minneapolis is very pro-peace and very upset with the decision he seems to be taken. there are others in the progressive caucus, such as barbara lee, who have been a consistent voice against war. there are new people such as -- people.ham and
9:13 am
a congressmanave to pressure, you have two senators. if the caller is in the d c area, join us outside the congress and be part of this physical presence. we should be on the streets as well. what if this turns out to be another kosovo? u.s. does not have a good track record of helping things in the middle east. the u.s. does not have the world community behind it, nor does it have the moral authority these days after the chemical weapons that were used in iraq, after the torture of people, the use of drones against international law. we are not the country to step in and say, you must abide by
9:14 am
international law. this is duane. you are on with medea benjamin. caller: this is the first time i have heard of code pink. i appreciate this lady's comments. it appears she is doing the right thing by following her convictions. i majored in history in college. ton adolf hitler was rising power, and germany was invading other nations, and when the holocaust came about, there was a lot of denial about that. today a lot of germans would deny the holocaust even existed. the pictures obviously show there is something horrible happening over there. we cannot just ignore all of this either. i'm for peace. i'm with her.
9:15 am
on the other hand, how do you deal with something like this? russia has a veto in the u.n. we will not get anywhere in the u.n. apparently, russia is supporting syria with the military, and maybe they got chemicals from them. i do appreciate this lady. more people should be involved in government like she is. thank you. guest: i appreciate the caller's concern. this is not like hitler. there is no attempt by the assad government to invade other countries. this has become a civil war, a very complicated civil war. people in the world community still have not seen what actually happened there. evidence that the our government says it has. why is the government keeping
9:16 am
this evidence away from us? why should it be classified at this time? if the president wants to convince the american people, we have got to see a lot more evidence. i still would not be convinced with evidence that a u.s. intervention which defies international law and defies the wishes of the secretary-general of the u.n. is the way to go about it. if there is this overwhelming we could perhaps convince the chinese and russians and rest of the world community that is not in with us that something must be done, like taking assad to an international criminal court. but we have to look at what would actually help the situation, and what would actually hurt the situation. i'm convinced that a u.s. military intervention would hurt the situation. host: mike is calling from new york on our republican line. caller: i want to thank you for
9:17 am
ask the simple -- do. i asked a simple question, what is the game plan? if you're going to war, you need a game plan. if you don't have a game plan, everything is going to fall apart. there will be a lot of innocent lives lost. i'm a former marine who served in iraq. war.'t agree with sometimes it is unavoidable. there is really no reason to go into syria. i don't think we would even go into syria. i think it would be a bombing campaign. but what next? bomb that is dropped, most
9:18 am
of the bombs are spotted by seal 's. i've been listening to every one of those hearings. chuck hagel looks very forlorn, and chuck says, we have plans. they won't tell us what those plans are, but those bombs are probably more bombing, and then there will be more retaliation. the caller is spot on. .his is a slippery slope here it people heard from many who never thought they would agree with code pink. there is no game plan.
9:19 am
this is just a recipe for disaster here i. all overages of iraq again. many how many of -- members of congress do you expect to address as an organization? guest: we will address as many as we can. we are going for the undecided, and leaning towards no to make sure they stay in that direction. to allreally appealing people of the united states -- this is the moment to make your voice known, whether you are picking up the phone or sending an e-mail or signing a petition. org.can go to code pink. let's work together as americans. with codea benjamin,
9:20 am
pink. syria came up as a topic at the g20. sudeep reddy will take us laceugh what took lace -- p when "washington journal" continues. intellectual,so and he was our most academic, most educated president -- the only one with a phd. most of the books written about him have been academic in nature. they have missed the human side
9:21 am
of this man. he was deeply emotional, passionate, romantic. he had two wives. when his first wife died, he courted and fell in love with a woman and married a second time. he wrote thousands of passionate love letters to each of these women. this was a living, breathing human being. i don't think we have seen that about woodrow wilson. >> a scott berg's biography of woodrow wilson releases next week. here more on sunday night "q&a." >> only the most willful desire to avoid reality can assert that this did not occur as described, or that the regime did not do it. it did happen. the assad regime did it. i remember iraq, and sodas
9:22 am
secretary hagel, and general dempsey. secretary hagel and i remember iraq and a special way because we were here for that vote. we voted. toare especially sensitive never again asking any member of congress to take the vote on faulty intelligence. that is why our intelligence community has scrubbed and rescript the evidence. ed the evidence. we have declassified information. >> john kerry and chuck hagel from tuesday's hearing on syria. "booktv," the impact of foreclosures and evictions in african-american communities.
9:23 am
lectures and history looks at the murder of emmett till. "washington journal" continues. host: our final guest this morning, sudeep reddy at the "wall street journal." what was the purpose of the g20? guest: it was set up as a forum for the leading economies of the world. was designed to work on economic and financial issues. it includes 19 of the largest communities in the world. it is an opportunity for world leaders to get together and try to coordinate financial policy. leadership of all of these
9:24 am
countries are realized in the late 1990's that they needed to have some ability to gather on a regular basis. most of it has been an attempt to coordinate. forum0 became the leading friends or national participation during 2008, when they realized they needed just -- not just the old western powers involved, but also the emerging markets. all of these countries coming to the table to talk about how you can support stronger economic very --ate it was growth. it was very important to have the countries of the world leaning in the same direction. host: what were the proposals at that time? , doingshared stimulus whatever was necessary to make sure the global financial system did not follow part.
9:25 am
that was the high water mark for the g20. they were mostly in agreement about what needed to be done, which is rare when you have such a diverse set of countries. host: how much of the g20's work is discussion? guest: in most cases, there are action items leading up to the g20. deputies and people in the country are working on it in a lower level. you saw them working on issues around multinational corporation taxation, how to deal with aroundes that have bases the world and might be avoiding taxes. they're trying to deal with how to regulate the banking system, how to deal with environmental issues. this is the way to get these countries together. they have very different priorities. it's important to have this many
9:26 am
leaders of the world getting together on a regular basis. when they are seeing and talking to each other, they are less likely to destroy each other. we probably underestimate how much that matters. was the tone different because of what is going on in syria? guest: even without syria, it would have been an awkward conversation because the russian leadership and tensions between russia and the u.s. -- when you add the layer of syria on to that, and particularly what president obama started last weekend by moving towards a national debate about syria, that added this bizarre layer onto the g20 where they are generally not focused on security issues. the g20 occupied almost
9:27 am
entirely by discussions about syria, that change the tone of the conversation. in your paper this morning, a picture of president .bama and president putin what gets decided now, and what goes forward? guest: on the economic pieces, they come together because the g20 represents 90% of the global population. they're trying to make sure they are moving in the same direction. g20statement out of the leaders was a general discussion about support for growth and jobs. they're at least trying to air out some of their grievances. economies zoomed out
9:28 am
of the gates after the crisis in 2008, and they were doing well for the past few years. now they are struggling quite a bit. economies struggled a lot in the aftermath of the financial crisis. the u.s. economy is still struggling. now they are starting to stabilize. the tables have turned between the two sets of countries. art of the discussion was trying address how to at least take into account the concerns of emerging markets about monetary policy, stimulus around the world, and try to make sure everyone's voice is being heard. host: sudeep reddy is with the "wall street journal." thomas is calling on our republican line. caller: i called about our
9:29 am
involvement in syria. ourve a question about country and the global economy. we have seen our jobs and businesses leave this country. took a 44,000 manufacturing jobs out of america, 22 million jobs lost over this. i thought we had rules and regulations that protected our businesses and corporations from foreign countries coming in and buying our businesses, which they still are. where i live, we had sewing factories and everything. high, buthouses were we had jobs to pay those high prices. now around here, everybody that has all these factories have left. we have a high rate of foreclosures.
9:30 am
thing, a lone aircraft carrier is $25 million a week. no americans' lives are at stake. we don't need war. guest: you captured a few issues in there that have some interplay. how we fundor war, our government is central to what we are doing for the economy and the u.s. place in the economy. the nafta example captures the last 25 years of tension we have had throughout the u.s. about our place in the global economy. president clinton pushed hard for nafta, and to bring the u.s. into the global economy, open up trade. it is a continuing trade we have seen over the last two decades. become alped the u.s.
9:31 am
more important player with high end products, to an extent, but it has also led to extension hemorrhagingsive of jobs. people are facing the problem now that we are not as competitive on wages and prices as many other countries. ist is much of what the g20 dealing with. emerging economies are now , dealing with lower wage jobs. host: a tweet -- guest: those countries, we talk about them as the bricks.
9:32 am
these are the faster growing emerging market economies, giants of the developing world. they all have different problems. brazil really build up its economy over the last two decades based on exports to china, driven by a lot of growth in china. it has been able to export commodities, minerals. russia has a lot of natural resources. india has a particular problem now, having had faster growth. it is struggling with internal reforms to fix underlying problems in its economy. it's currency is rapidly depreciating to the point of great concern, just like the number of other emerging market economies. all of them combined are seeing ugly moves in their markets after some pretty strong years. they're trying to make sense of what this world looks like.
9:33 am
in the aftermath of our crisis, the federal reserve dropped interest rates. that led investors to leave the u.s. and try to move their money to some of these emerging markets, where there were higher interest rates and they could get a better return. that money helped those economies. now the federal reserve starts to contemplate pulling back on its easing monetary policies. that is leading to this huge outflow in the other direction from these emerging economies, who are not prepared from these ramifications. host: a color on our independent line. -- caller on our independent line. caller: our economy cannot handle another war. why don't we offer to provide some relief to the government , by the weapons
9:34 am
like we did in russia to get rid of the excess nuclear missile likens -- buy the weapons we did in russia to get rid of the excess nuclear missiles? can you encapsulate what was happening at the meeting with the leaders? guest: they gathered thursday evening, the g20 leaders. leaders.got these 20 most of these leaders have air pieces. they are often hearing their translators through , trying to get the message across about where we stand. president obama dominated much of that conversation, trying to in hise rest of the g20 direction to build international support for intervention in syria. when he came out of it, it was
9:35 am
largely a split among the g 20 members. it actually just highlighted the division among the world's leaders. says, the evidence the syrian government being responsible for the attack. it goes on. 10 countries signed the statement. 10 did not spain did not sign. it is pretty clear that
9:36 am
no one disputes that chemical weapons were used. the question is what to do about it. meetings lead to vague statements about international support and cooperation, but the question is what do you do then? there are a number of countries that signed onto this and did not sign onto this that were worried what the implications might be if they stood behind the united states. everyone around the world has are lessons of the iraq w close to them, and don't want to go into another seemingly endless conflict. but they also don't want to be endorsing it when their people do not support it. the fact that president obama was able to at least guide the discussion around this issue probably helped him a bit in terms of timing to have the focus and get the year of all of these leaders. that, to have this division where half the world
9:37 am
powers are supporting him and half are not probably does not bode well for coming debates with leaders in congress. peter from lakeland, florida. statement,lly quick and then example. vote for anyone again who is not against these free trade agreements, and bringing back terrorists. the middle class has been wiped out. american corporations pay american workers. look at bangladesh. 1128 walmart workers in bangladesh are crushed to death and a collapsed the link make a collapsedn building make pennies an hour. you know what they said when they pulled the bodies out of the building?
9:38 am
move it down the street. money. can use that studentsted college are pitted against visa workers who have no student debt. we have been wiped out. the millionaires are making off with it. they are not even paying taxes on it. the american middle class is wiped out. please respond. guest: that is an overall excellent point about some of the tensions with the policy that the united states has been on for the last 15 or 20 years. of the rationales for supporting the world trade organization, supporting freer was thatthe 1990's bringing more countries into a , thoseframework
9:39 am
countries might be forced to improve their working standards, to actually level the playing field for the people who are in these factories. that has happened to some extent, but not nearly enough. that is the case that you cite. working inople are some horrible conditions. this 15 year effort to raise standards in these countries has not completely succeeded. whether you will see a party step up and say no to free trade and start slapping tariffs on ,roducts coming into the u.s. it is highly unlikely that you see a major party doing that. you will probably be looking at third-party or lesser candidates , if you want to define the candidate who would support something like that. has been built up
9:40 am
with major employers relying on operations around the world. they have quite a bit of influence. it's not economically clear that you would see that much benefit at this point, given where we are, by suddenly putting tariffs on products. other countries will do the same things, and that will hurt u.s. exports and perhaps lead to a downward spiral in trade where you end up with massive trade that probably won't do many people any good. host: a caller on our republican line. caller: why does the american media never talk about the shia in the middle east, which is a divide and conquer mechanism for people to have a war anywhere they want, especially in syria, where the
9:41 am
minority, shia side regime is being pushed out by the sunni regime? economy of our american really relies on the defense production that we shipped overseas? a situation where everything is winding down, sequester is in place, and we need to have a war? think the rest in quite a bit of u.s. media coverage of this issue. -- there has been quite a bit of u.s. media coverage of this issue. you can probably go to most news sites and find some fairly thoughtful content about the risk of the divides in the middle east, and why that is such an important issue for the debate about whether the u.s. or other countries intervene. the other point about the economy, this is a question about exports.
9:42 am
there is been a substantial pushed under the obama and bush administrations to focus on exporting our high priced, high- quality goods abroad. experts were an important driver of the recovery early on -- exports were an important driver of the recovery early on. employment inost the u.s., they help stabilize our economy at the time. the big question is, how much more can you get from this? every country in the world wants to export. they cannot all be net exporters. end upot clear who will with the upper hand in a race like that. steve, from virginia, on our independent line. caller: there are two projects that produce 110% employment for
9:43 am
the american people. from a metallic power grid to superconductive plastic, which would negate our need to produce 40% as much electricity. americanalso the north water and power authority, which is a 1950 concept that john kennedy was going to go into before he was shot, that we could do that and we could flood death valley and make it another rice paddy because china is not producing enough rice to feed itself. they could ship us lead covered toys and we could ship them food. apart from your specific suggestions, the overall issue is an important one around energy. been decades of u.s. panics about rising oil prices,
9:44 am
what is happening to energy isces, that is -- how that influencing the u.s. economy. if someone were to come up with a renewable energy source that is truly abundant and can be distributed easily around the nation, that is the trillion dollar solution to a lot of our economy's ills. whoever comes up with that idea will be the world's richest man or woman in history. we have not gotten to that point. it's very difficult to come up with an energy solution. that is one reason we are constantly worrying about oil coming from unsavory environments, and natural gas coming out of the ground in ways we not -- might not always like. host: from alabama, independent line. about: he's talking
9:45 am
developing countries. the economy slowing down in china.and is, what is going to happen if these economies get really bad and the citizens who live there start protesting, and if chemical weapons are used on those people? guest: i'm skeptical that you would see chemical weapons used in these emerging-market countries. whetherrlying issue of there will be popular unrest is a really important one. roots of thehe syrian conflict in recent history, the arab spring in 2010 and 2011, which sparked a lot of the revolutions across the middle east was driven in large part by economic concerns. people not getting what they want and what they expected from these dictatorships in the
9:46 am
middle east. these are movements towards democracy. been tragic in many cases, but they are driven and fundamental ways by economics and economic concerns. china, if you look at many other emerging market economies, their leaders are all worried about how to stimulate growth and keep their people happy with jobs and stronger economic growth because if they don't, they are certain to see political unrest in the years ahead. a comment from sasha, on twitter. this was cleared friday by the government.
9:47 am
guest: this is the big pork producer. the delay was in seeking u.s. government approval through a process called the committee on foreign investment in the u.s. it is an interagency body that has to review acquisitions of american companies by foreign firms. weng over the past decade, have seen a lot of tension around this process. remember back in 2005, 2006, the question of whether we should allow our pork to be purchased by other entities. it is fairly unusual to see food companies involved in this. whenever you have china involved in any case, you start to raise questions about state control and influence of business, and whether the chinese government is going to get important access
9:48 am
or important control of assets that are vital to the united states. host: our guest, sudeep reddy with a "wall street journal." william from the bronx. what is going on in syria, is it regards -- in regards to a pipeline being built from qatar to saudi arabia , or is the conflict being fought for humanitarian reasons? i read that there was a pipeline being funded by qatar. -- the russians were against this, because it would cut their natural gas supply. that is an interesting twist on the story. you have been a number of commentators who said that, if serious had more oil supply or
9:49 am
if it were a more vital supplier of oil, perhaps there would have been intervention earlier or in a different way because of its economic place in the region. it certainly is not a major exporter of oil to the region. the question about the ties between syria and russia go way beyond energy issues. syria is a major purchaser of weapons from russia. those are two close allies. russia's primary military base outside the country is in syria. host: from twitter, someone is asking you what are the odds that larry summers will be nominated for federal reserve chairman. i want to ask you about this decision, and other global economies look at it. guest: central bankers and finance ministers will be looking very closely.
9:50 am
president obama has suggested this is the most in part an economic decision he may make in his second term. the chairman will have an appointment that goes well beyond his presidency. a moment where the financial markets have to come to grips with whoever the new understand who is coming into the fed and who is replacing ben bernanke and what they will do for interest for financial policy in the united states at this critical moment. there is another layer to it, politically. larry summers has been a figure over two decades in american economic policy. some people have grown to love him and admire what they see as other peoplend have grown to really want to fight any moment that larry summers might be stepping up into a major position.
9:51 am
we have seen groups come out over the last couple of months on the notion that larry summers is a leading candidate for this position. president obama worked very closely with larry summers when summers was in the white house. the decision he faces now is whether larry summers can get through that political , also among members who don't want to deal with the baggage the larry summers might bring. host: cindy from texas, independent line. nafta: i understand since , we have had 75,000 companies go overseas. passed, theywas
9:52 am
would say, if we will have clinton and office, we need to have a republican house and senate. what happens if clinton gets in there, puts nafta out there, and the republicans voted it in. i think it was all a set up. media and talk radio just set us up. we took the bait. is a very nafta issue divisive one for a number of good reasons. to disentangle the cause and effect of some of these issues trade the global -- jesus -- issues. seen that moment, we have
9:53 am
an incredible revolution in information technology. the rise of the internet, what that has done to our daily lives and allowed corporations to do. planning, where they place their workers, where call centers are -- all of these things playing an important part in the trajectory of the u.s. economy. entirely fair to blame nafta for some of these things, because nafta also provided an opportunity for some of our products to go into our neighbors in a way that is beneficial to certain workers. the question is, what do we do about what comes next? right figuring out the way to produce higher-quality products in the united states? there was some attention on that early in the recovery. there has not been enough attention on that, in training workers for a completely different era of technology and skills. that is one of our failings as a
9:54 am
nation, how to deal with .ducation not just k-12, but secondary and college and technical and trade schools. bert from oregon, democratic line. caller: i read paul krugman a lot. he talks about stimulus spending. i'm wondering why they continue to be like this. guest: the paul krugman message is a wide body of economic work that supports -- what he is saying, we should not worry about the deficit right now, but in 20 years from now.
9:55 am
the way our economies are structured, we need to provide support for the economy in the short term to ease the pain on tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions of people across the united states, and provide some support in the short term. short-term policies have to be mixed with long-term policies. .e have failed as a nation there have been countless attempts to come up with more to deal budget policies with rising health-care costs, the other unsustainable parts of , and for a number of reasons, partly due to ideology about economics and partly due to politics, these are not happening. some actiono see that provided some longer run sensible strategy on the budget,
9:56 am
you would provide a better underpinning for the economy. host: this is eddie on our independent line. i am a vietnam veteran. we were in a war that we should not have been and -- in. i can't get a job. [indiscernible] host: the caller is breaking up. i apologize. guest: when we talk about being more weary -- war-weary, which is understandable -- each of the past three or four decades has had a moment of crisis either tied to the middle east or some other foreign conflict. it strains our economy and leads to higher oil prices, uncertainty, and it unsettles people for perfectly understandable reasons.
9:57 am
about political conflict in syria, military, chemical weapons. this region and what it means for our country. are so why people unsettled about being involved in the middle east. it is obviously a big source of oil. we seem to be getting entangled decade after decade. the caller mentioned the difficulties of getting a job. yesterday we found out that the unemployment rate is 7.3%. a snapshot of why that is? 10%t: it has come down from in late 2009. is somer that period progress. the problem is that there are
9:58 am
still millions of people out of work, looking for work. was partly due to people dropping out of the labor force. upmany americans have given looking for work because they don't find it to be worthwhile to keep looking, because they don't feel like they're going to find jobs. the other really important figure from the labor department on friday is that the labor force participation rate, the share of americans working are looking for work, has stopped to orther 35 year low -- looking for work, has dropped to another 35-year low. it shows how much of our society is being deployed for productive capacities. we had huge gains into the late 1990 possible labor force participation. 1990's labor force participation. years, west 10 or 15
9:59 am
have fallen apart in some ways on that measure. some of it is due to the aging workforce. some of it is due to people staying in education longer. a lot of it is the aftermath of this recession, and the financial crisis. we are in the fifth anniversary of the global financial crisis, and we'd have not made the progress we would have hoped to have made at this point. that figure shows that so many people have given up, and moved on. it is a tragic note to this recession and recovery that people have worked for so long, tried for so long, and been out of work for so long that they just don't think it is worthwhile anymore. host: sudeep reddy from the "wall street journal," thanks for your time.
10:00 am
ambassador to. syria will join us to talk about not only his perspective in dealing with the assad family, but an inside syria take on what is going on there. two reporters joining us. by a. foukaraned from al-jazeera. we will take your calls, take a look at the newspapers as well. we will also look at the newspapers as well. this comes her way at 7:00 tomorrow morning. 7:00 tomorrowway morning. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] ♪

42 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on